New study touts economic benefits of SkyTrain extending to UBC
Published Monday, May 20, 2019 6:16PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, May 20, 2019 6:42PM PDT
For the second time in six years, Vancouver and the University of B.C. have put out a study touting the economic benefits of extending a subway to the Point Grey campus.
The study is done by the same contractor, KPMG, and comes to similar conclusions about the need to link together the Broadway Corridor, the location of an extraordinary amount of homes and businesses.
But there's a reason it's worth saying it today, said OneCity councilor Christine Boyle: it's true.
"UBC is a huge employer. It's a transit destination and we see that already in the ridership. It makes sense to continue the Millennium Line to UBC," she said.
Boyle was one of the Vancouver city councilors to vote to support the Millennium Line extension from its current planned terminus of Arbutus Street to UBC. That section of the line should be finished by 2025.
In February, the Mayors Council voted to support the extension, kicking out a $3 million study on the route. The whole line is expected to cost in the range of $3.8 billion dollars.
That would be the right move for Dave Whitford, who said he lives, works and plays on Broadway.
"I even have my dentist at UBC so I would do the round trip. I have so many connections on the Broadway corridor it's not even funny," he said.
He says a train to connect it all would be a game changer.
"I like it. I dig it," he said.
People like Whitford are the reason a new study says a train would be good for business.
The study says the Broadway corridor has 105,000 jobs, $15.5 billion dollars changing hands, as much as 10 per cent of all economic activity in Metro Vancouver.
As for homes, there are 68,000 in the zone the study describes. That's about 7 per cent of the region.
The current extension to Arbutus is part of the Mayors' Council plan, and will run through the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Main Street with the tech jobs in Mount Pleasant, City Hall and a Canada Line connection, with a terminus at Arbutus Street.
In 2013, then-Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson used that study to push for an extension in the transit referendum, which went down to defeat.
"The subway connecting UBC would exceed Canada Line ridership on day one," he said then.
Former city councilor Gordon Price says the mayor is still right.
"From a transportation planning perspective, it's 'check, check, check.' You've got the jobs, the density, the already existing population and a nightmare if you can't give people other options than driving," he said.